Friday Festivities

The Friday Fragments feature lists of what I’ve read over the past week.  They are not meant to be a recommendation list.  If you’re interested in a not-at-all-inclusive list, you can look on my website .

This is not a book review column.  It’s just a list with, maybe, a few opinions tossed in.

Kel's on top of her reading

Kel’s on top of her reading


Recently Completed:

W is for Wasted by Sue Grafton.  Audiobook.  As a reader who has usually enjoyed this series, this novel struck me as all too aptly titled. It was indeed a “waste.”  The text was repetitious and weighted down with pointless description.  Kinsey repeatedly lets herself be bullied by a host of unlikeable characters.  A sub-plot removes any sense of discovery and leads to more repetition.  Continuing characters have dead-end cameos.

The Demigod Files by Rick Riordan.  Audiobook.  Three short stories and a handful of amusing character interviews.  Reminded me that I’ve meant to go on with the adventures of Percy Jackson and his associates.

Finger Lickin’ Fifteen by Janet Evanovich.  Audiobook.  Light and fluffy, even for a series that specializes in fluff.  Still, I was in the mood for fluff.  Now I’m also craving barbeque.

In Progress:

The Adventures of English: The Biography of a Language by Melvyn Bragg.  Overall, this is still fun.  The chapter on pronunciation of various British dialects became tedious for this American reader until Bragg moved on to specific authors.

Sizzling Sixteen by Janet Evanovich.  Audiobook.

Within the Little While:

Quite a while ago, on the recommendation of a friend who is both a librarian and a classics major, I read The Lightning Thief, the first of Rick Riordan’s “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” novels.  Up until my friend reassured me that Riordan knew his stuff, I had avoided these books.  Basically, I get cranky when it becomes evident that an author using mythological material didn’t bother to research beyond some tertiary handbook.  I was delighted with the Riordan’s handling of his material, especially how he managed to explain apparent “errors” in his world-design, like why virgin Athena has so many “half-blood” children.

Oh, I have quibbles, but that’s all they are…   (Goats don’t eat cans.  They lick off the glue.  So goat-bodied satyrs should be glue aficionados, not junk-eaters.)  I plan to continue reading Riordan’s work.

What are you reading?

5 Responses to “Friday Festivities”

  1. Paul Genesse Says:

    I’m rereading Mazerunner by James Dashner in honor of the movie coming out this weekend.

  2. Louis Robinson Says:

    Well, there’s Wednesday Wanderings 😉

    Other than that, well…

    Partway through Call of Duty [Zahn & Weber]; need to get caught up on the doings of Clan Korval [Lee & Miller]. Just reread War Maid’s Choice and Like a Mighty Army [Weber]. also paused in the middle of Fury of the Demon [Rowland] and Cast in Secret [Sagara].

    Beyond that, I’ve been browsing the Ontario Electrical Code [not entirely for fun, I did have something to look up] and i’m also partway through Western Europe in the Middle Ages: 300-1475 [Tierney]. This last is a tad frustrating. It’s a text, probably aimed at 2nd-year undergrads, and it’s nice to have all sorts of things I already knew laid out in order [not to mention the material on the late Empire that I hadn’t seen before]. OTOH, by ’72 he should have shown some awareness that the archeology simply doesn’t support the then-conventional wisdom about towns, trade and coinage before the 11th century, and his treatment of Islam is similarly well-informed. With those caveats, though, it’s not a bad review of the period. And, oddly, there don’t seem to be any more recent general surveys of this sort.

    However, truth to tell, I’ve been doing far more watching than reading lately: I’ve become addicted to the lectures from The Great Courses. Currently flipping between a set on the New Testament and one on the Peloponesian War. Recently finished a long, fascinating series on Foundations of Eastern Civilisation; before that Barbarian Empires of the Steppes and the Vikings. Oh, and a civil engineering course called Understanding the World’s Greatest Structures. Still to come: The Symphony and The Concerto, among many others. They’re not dreadfully expensive if you can manage to wait for them to go on sale.

    • Chad Merkley Says:

      I’m also a fan of the Great Courses Lectures. Most recently I’ve done one on the French Revolution and on sleep science. As a general rule, I’ve found that the histories often work well in audio, but almost everything else needs video. But, yes, wait for the sales. Buy one and you’ll be getting emails and catalogs forever.

      Also, I wandered into a big-box bookstore last week in the hopes of finding some of the Zelazny titles that have been recommended. All they had was the Amber omnibus. I did grab The Long Earth by Pratchett and Baxter. I enjoyed it, but be warned it’s nothing like Discworld, and reads mostly as a set up for the sequel. I also found I Can Hear You Whisper by Lydia Dentworth, in the nonfiction. The author describes her experience of learning that her son is deaf, and about deciding what to do for him. It’s a great mix of science and personal experience, and also investigates the social politics of the deaf community and the history of education for the deaf. I was really impressed by this book. I also found a bilingual anthology of Pablo Neruda poetry. I then went to the library and got a copy of Lord Demon, that I’m going to start on this evening.

  3. Laura L Says:

    I just finished -And Then They Came for Me- by Maziar Bahari, about an Iranian journalist taken prisoner in Iran, after reporting on the 2006 election and resulting demonstrations. It was scary and fascinating, and I am still thinking about it, especially in the light of the ISIL stories in the news.

  4. Paul Says:

    I’ve enjoyed Grafton’s alphabet mysteries, too, but this sounds like one I may skip. We read “Gone Girl” (now coming out as a movie) in a library book club since it was such a touted best-seller. Most were disappointed, perhaps let down by the ending (although the book had a fascinating construction).

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